CHICAGO — Sarah Darling never stopped believing in her younger brother's dream to make it to the National Hockey League.
Now, Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling not only has reached hockey's highest level, he's become an overnight star after winning three postseason games as Chicago looks to close out Nashville in Thursday night's Game 5 of the Western Conference playoff series.
"I can't even put into words how special this is for him," Sarah Darling wrote in an email to DNAinfo Chicago Wednesday afternoon. "This is what he worked so hard for; now he's here and I know he will work hard to stay."
"The best part of the playoff run so far for me is seeing his genuine excitement as the final buzzer sounds," said Darling, who lives in southwest suburban Lemont. "He has this movement with his arm and stick thing he does. It always bring a smile to my face."
Justin Breen chatted with Sarah Darling about her brother's success:
Sarah Darling and her younger brother, Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling. [Sarah Darling]
Scott Darling, who has also lived in Lemont, has stopped 127 of 131 shots fired his way by the Predators after taking over for usual starter Corey Crawford. It's a stunning success story considering the 26-year-old netminder played with 10 teams in the last five years waiting for his chance in the NHL. He also had a drinking problem, telling The Hockey News last year: “I wasn’t comfortable as a human being. I didn’t think people liked me.”
Sarah Darling said she, her sister, Lauren, and parents always knew Darling "had the talent, he just had to take care of himself and get healthy again."
"We were hopeful things would fall into place for him," Sarah Darling, 28, said. "Scotty loved hockey, our family always knew he had the talent [and] we always believed in him. He just took a little detour — the 'scenic' route — and now he's where he belongs."
Scott Darling celebrates after the Hawks' Game 3 win. [Getty Images]
Sarah Darling and her siblings "grew up" on the ice. Lauren, 31, played hockey. Sarah was a figure and speed skater who practiced with Apolo Anton Ohno at a Tacoma, Washington speed skating club.
She said the Darling siblings have been inspired by their mom, Cindy, who survived two bouts with breast cancer. The Darling matriarch will participate in the Avon 39.3-mile/two-day breast cancer walk with friends and family, Sarah Darling said (you can donate here). The family also is hosting a fundraiser on May 3 at Hawthornes Backyard Bar & Grill at 1200 W. Hawthorne Lane in West Chicago.
Sarah Darling said Scott has been able to stay grounded through his ups and downs because of the example set by their mom and dad, who is also named Scott.
"We are truly blessed to have such loving and supportive parents," she said. "I know just staying positive was huge for us. We always knew we could talk to our parents for guidance or support."
Darling will again be in net Thursday at 8:30 p.m. for Game 5.
"I think the best word that could describe it is amazing," Sarah Darling said. "To finally see all his hard work pay off, it's something you want to see for someone you care so much for."
Scott Darling has been a dominant goalie so far in the playoffs for the Blackhawks. [Getty Images]
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